How Many Times a Day Can I Take Out My Aligners?
Oral Health Blog

How Many Times a Day Can I Take Out My Aligners?

You can take out your aligners whenever you eat or drink anything other than water, ideally keeping them out for no more than 2 hours total per day. It's also important to clean them using a purple persulfate-free retainer cleaner. This ensures your aligners stay hygienic without harsh chemicals, supporting effective treatment.

The Importance of Wearing Aligners

How Aligners Work

Clear aligners work by applying gentle, consistent pressure to your teeth, gradually shifting them into the desired position. Each set of aligners is custom-made based on your treatment plan and is designed to move your teeth incrementally.

Recommended Wear Time

For optimal results, orthodontists recommend wearing your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day. This ensures that your teeth are continuously receiving the necessary pressure to move effectively. Wearing aligners less than the recommended time can prolong your treatment and may lead to suboptimal results.

When to Remove Your Aligners

Eating and Drinking

  • Meal Times: It is essential to remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water. Food and beverages can stain or damage your aligners, and chewing can distort their shape, affecting the fit and effectiveness.
  • Snack Breaks: Keep in mind that frequent snacking means more instances of removing and reinserting your aligners. If you tend to snack often, try to consolidate your eating times to reduce the frequency of aligner removal.

Oral Hygiene

  • Brushing and Flossing: Always remove your aligners before brushing and flossing your teeth. Proper oral hygiene is crucial to prevent plaque buildup and cavities. Brush your teeth after every meal and before reinserting your aligners to maintain oral health.
  • Aligner Cleaning: Clean your aligners at least twice a day, preferably during your morning and evening oral care routine. Use a soft toothbrush and clear, antibacterial soap or a specialized aligner cleaner. Avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and cause scratches.

Special Occasions

  • Social Events: For important social events or professional engagements where you might feel self-conscious, it's acceptable to remove your aligners temporarily. However, keep in mind that the more you remove them, the longer your treatment might take.
  • Physical Activities: For sports or physical activities, consider whether removing your aligners is necessary. For contact sports, it might be advisable to remove them and use a mouthguard instead.

Guidelines for Removing Aligners

Frequency of Removal

  • Daily Limit: Aim to limit the removal of your aligners to 3-4 times a day. This would typically include removing them for three main meals and potentially one additional snack or drink break. The less frequently you remove them, the better for maintaining consistent pressure on your teeth.
  • Duration: Each removal session should be kept as brief as possible, ideally not exceeding 30 minutes. Prolonged periods without aligners can set back your treatment progress.

Techniques for Safe Removal

  • Use an Aligner Removal Tool: Aligner removal tools are designed to help you take out your aligners safely without damaging them or your teeth. These tools are especially useful if your aligners fit very snugly.
  • Avoid Using Nails: Using your nails to remove aligners can lead to damage or breakage. It can also introduce bacteria from your hands into your mouth.

Storing Your Aligners

  • Use the Case: Always store your aligners in their protective case when not in use. This prevents them from getting lost, damaged, or exposed to bacteria.
  • Keep Them Clean: Rinse your aligners with lukewarm water before storing them to remove saliva and bacteria. Avoid hot water, as it can warp the plastic.

Consequences of Frequent Removal

Prolonged Treatment Time

Removing your aligners too frequently or for extended periods can delay the progress of your treatment. Each time you remove them, your teeth have a chance to move back to their original positions, which can disrupt the treatment plan.

Increased Risk of Dental Issues

Frequent removal can also increase the risk of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Without the aligners in place, food particles and plaque can accumulate more easily, leading to oral health problems.


Wearing your aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours a day is essential for achieving the best results in the shortest time. While it's necessary to remove them for eating, drinking, and oral hygiene, limiting the frequency and duration of removal sessions will help keep your treatment on track. By following these guidelines and best practices, you can ensure a smooth and effective orthodontic journey with clear aligners.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE. 



The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.